Monday, September 8, 2014

(3) THE PAIN OF LOVE

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

It was August 16, 2014. I woke up early in the morning and decided to go to my father’s grave to pray for him. As I prayed, I saw a very old man, walking with a stick. He was going to the grave of his wife Sophiya, who had died just two days ago. As he approached the grave, he burst into tears and cried out, “Why did you leave me? Take me with you.” His love for his wife was so obvious from his pain.

I had seen them together since my childhood. They often went to the city on a donkey cart. Their house was by the graveyard, and Sophiya often brought her buffaloes to graze. My mother told me that my father used to call Sophiya his sister. Her village was near our town. My father used to sell clothes in different villages; that is how he met Sophiya. She was a poor, but brave woman. She wasn’t born into a Muslim family. Sophiya had fallen in love with a Muslim man named Raheem Bukhsh.

Sophiya did everything for her love. She left her home, parents, and her religion. She became Muslim and married Raheem. After becoming Muslim, her name was changed. She was named Islaam. They were very poor, but their happiness was not dependent on wealth. Their love was pure and without reserve. Raheem didn’t work much. It was Islaam who managed to support the house by selling milk. They had five children: three sons and two daughters.

I still remember how she often complained about her daughters-in-law and said they didn’t treat her well. One of her sons died in a road accident. Her son’s sudden death upset her and Raheem so much. After many years, they recovered from the pain of the death of their young son. Islaam and her husband decided to sell their buffaloes and make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

After they had arrived back to Pakistan, Islaam came to our house and told us about the pilgrimage. Islaam and her husband had become very old, and they could not make ends meet. Islaam took food from other people to satiate the hunger in their stomachs.

For years, they survived this way. On Eids, Islaam used to come and say, “Happy Eid.” In 2014, on Eid-u-Fiter, the Eid which comes after Ramadan, she came to see us. I met her. I didn’t know it was her last Eid. That day, she became seriously ill. She was taken to the hospital. She was in the hospital for three days, but her health didn’t improve. The doctors said she would not survive. Her husband took her home in the hope that she would survive, no matter what the doctors said, but she could not survive any more.

The love and life of Islaam have always inspired me. She sacrificed everything for her husband and always remained by his side through thick and thin. Old Raheem is also ill, and suffering from the pain of separation from his beloved wife. I often find Raheem weeping on his wife’s grave. Everything that we have in this world will not be with us forever. We, too, will leave this world. Sometimes the pain of love makes life, and sometimes it takes one’s life. In life having someone who loves us truly is a gift from God. A man is mortal. One day, everybody has to leave this world. The only way we can be in someone’s heart is through love. Islaam and Raheem Bukhsh’s life story will always be in my mind and heart.
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Respond to the story:
Who burst into tears on Islaam’s grave and what did they say?
How had Islaam married Rahim Bukhsh?
Why was their love so strong?
Have you ever seen any couple whose love story is like Islaam’s?
What is the central message of this story?
How does this story effect your life?

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